Monday, April 13, 2015

Phở Bò [Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup] Phở Gà [Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup] & Vegetarian Phở

Phở or pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat. It is primarily served with either beef or chicken. Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Southern Vietnamese eat it for breakfast and occasionally lunch, whereas northerners eat it at any time of day.

Pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam. War refugees later popularized it in the rest of Vietnam and the world. Because pho's origins are poorly documented,there is significant disagreement over the cultural influences that led to its development in Vietnam, as well as the etymology of the word itself.

The Hanoi and Saigon styles of pho differ by noodle width, sweetness of broth, and choice of herbs. A related beef noodle soup, bún bò Huế, is associated with Huế in central Vietnam.

Pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam, apparently southeast of Hanoi in Nam Định Province, then a substantial textile market. The traditional home of pho is reputed to be the villages of Vân Cù and Dao Cù (or Giao Cù) in Đông Xuân commune, Nam Trực District, Nam Định Province. According to villagers, pho was eaten in Vân Cù long before the French colonial period when it was popularized.

Pho was originally sold at dawn and dusk by roaming street vendors, who shouldered mobile kitchens on carrying poles (gánh phở). From the pole hung two wooden cabinets, one housing a cauldron over a wood fire, the other storing noodles, spices, cookware, and space to prepare a bowl of pho. Pho vendors kept their heads warm with distinctive, disheveled felt hats called mũ phở.

Hanoi's first two fixed pho stands were a Vietnamese-owned Cát Tường on Cầu Gỗ Street and a Chinese-owned stand in front of Bờ Hồ tram stop. They were joined in 1918 by two more on Quạt Row and Đồng Row. Around 1925, a Vân Cù villager named Vạn opened the first "Nam Định style" pho stand in Hanoi. Gánh phở declined in number around 1936–1946 in favor of stationary eateries.

From WikiCookbook
Phở Bò [Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup]

Broth Ingredients:
2 large white onions - chopped into quarters
1 tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil
5 lbs of beef bones
[choose ones with a bit of meat on them]
1 small knob of ginger - chopped
2 medium daikon [white radish]
chopped into quarters
1 small cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods - whole
4 cloves - whole
1 Star Anise
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn

Serving Ingredients:
Phở noodles [broad rice noodle]
soaked in hot water
until soft and drained
Finely sliced scallions
Chopped coriander leaf
Finely sliced beef sirloin

Chili peppers
Bean sprouts
Thai Basil
Nước mắm [Fish Sauce]
Hot sauce
Hoisin sauce
Black pepper

Fry onions in oil until lightly browned. Remove and drain. Rinse the beef bones, place in a stockpot, cover with cold water, and bring slowly to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. For a clear broth skim off foam. After this initial cooking, add cooked onions, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, cloves, garlic and peppercorns. Bring to a boil again and gently simmer the stock, partially covered, for a minimum of 6 hours but up to 12 hours if you can, skimming regularly. If necessary, add more water to keep the bones covered. Strain stock to remove the vegetable and spices and discard them. Return the broth to the stove to keep it boiling hot.

In a large soup bowl, place a handful of cooled Phở noodles, top with thinly sliced raw beef, and ladle on generous amounts of steaming hot broth, which will cook the raw beef. Garnish with sliced onions, scallions and coriander, and serve immediately.

Place condiments on a large serving plate. It's not necessary to add any of the condiments to the soup, but adding a few basil leaves, a squeeze of lime, and some bean sprouts, is customary. Traditionally, the dish is prepared using fatty meats, but this is not a necessity. Some other traditional serving ingredients include beef tendon, beef shank, beef tripe and meatballs. The fish sauce, hot sauce, and hoisin sauce, can either be added directly into the soup or placed in a small bowl for dipping the meat and noodles. Some take small bites of very hot chili peppers while eating the soup to spice up the meal. Proceed with caution! And enjoy!

From WikiCookbook
Phở Gà [Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup]

Phở noodles [broad rice noodle]
Broth Ingredients:
1 small to medium chicken (whole)
12 cups chicken broth
3-4 slices of fresh ginger (whole)
1 medium brown onion, peeled
1 tbsp of salt or more (to taste)
Fish sauce, to taste

Seasoning Pouch:
1 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. peppercorns
3 whole star anise
1-2 dried cardamom
1/2 stick cinnamon
3 whole cloves

Finishing Touches:
Diced cilantro and green onion
A few fresh basil leaves, torn
Fresh bean sprouts
Thinly sliced brown or white onion [several pieces per serving]
Hoisin Sauce [1 tsp per serving, or to taste]
Lime [squeezed into broth before eating
Jalapeños, serranos, or other chilli peppers
Sriracha or similar chilli sauce
Additional fish sauce
Combine ingredients for seasoning pouch in a small strainer or a pouch made from cheesecloth and twine. In a large stock pot, boil broth ingredients together with seasoning pouch until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove the chicken and strain broth back into the pot for additional simmering. Once the chicken is cool, pull apart the meat into bite sized pieces and discard bones. In a separate pot, boil the "Pho" noodles in sufficient water. Stop when they're no longer chewy [basically the way you'd boil spaghetti]. Make sure you don't overdo it or the noodles will fall apart and you'll end up with porridge. When done, pour the noodles into a colander and rinse them with lukewarm water. Then, leave them to drain. Once the noodles have drained, add them to a bowl. Combine the chicken, "finishing touches" [see above], and enough broth to cover the noodles. Enjoy!

From The Well Chick Project
Vegetarian Phở

Faux Phở Noodles - Gluten-free
brown rice noodles
or Zuccini noodles

6 star anise pods
5 whole cloves
2 tsp whole coriander seeds
1 green cardamom pod
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 large cinnamon stick

1 large onion peeled and quartered
1 piece fresh ginger 3-inches
3 quarts water
1 1/2 large leeks tough ends cut away, halved lengthwise, cleaned and cut in thick slices
2 medium turnips peeled and cut in wedges
3 large carrots peeled and sliced thick
4 dried shitake mushrooms [can substitute 2 ounces fresh mushroom stems]

1 head garlic cut in half
2 stalks lemongrass trimmed, smashed with a knife, and sliced
salt to taste
1 Tbsp low-sodium miso Eden's Shiro brand is a great low-sodium option
1 tbsp coconut sugar may use raw brown or other sugar, as available
1-2 Tbsp fish sauce (nuoc mam), to taste [optional; vegans can omit or sub soy sauce]

Fresh Vegetables, Tofu, & Garni:
4 large zucchini [optional; may substitute with cooked rice noodles]
8 cups vegetables of choice, lightly cooked [The Well Chick Project veggie recommendation: broccoli florets, sliced medallion carrots, canned/whole straw mushrooms]
pan-fried tofu slices
lime slices [for garnish]
hoisin sauce [for garnish]
Sriracha sauce [for garnish]
bean sprouts [for garnish]

Spices: In a pan over medium-low heat, toast the star anise, cloves, coriander seeds, cardamom pod, black peppercorns, and cinnamon stick for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Put the spices in a spice bag, or tea leaf bag, and set aside. Broth: Scorch the onion and ginger in a pan over medium-high heat. Turn the pieces until they are scorched black in places on all sides. Slice the ginger lengthwise. Combine the scorched onion and ginger with the water, leeks, turnips, carrots, mushroom stems (or dried shiitakes), garlic, lemongrass, miso, salt to taste and 1 tablespoon coconut sugar in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the spice bag.

COOKING METHOD A. If using Wonderbag: Add the fish sauce, if using. Immediately transfer the pot to the Wonderbag, and leave to cook overnight, or 8 hours. [The longer the broth slow cooks, the more intense the flavor.]

COOKING METHOD B. If using traditional stovetop method: Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add the fish sauce, if using, and simmer for another hour [2 hours total, with or without the fish sauce.]

Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. [Discard the broth vegetables, or save for some other use.] Taste and adjust salt and sugar. If serving immediately, ladle the hot broth over bowls filled with zuccini noodles or gluten-free brown rice noodles, fried tofu and vegetables. Allow diners to add their own garni.

If serving with zuccini noodles, select the appropriate blade for your spiral slicer, and process the zucchini noodles accordingly. Boil briefly for 3 or so minutes, according to how al dente you like your veggie pasta. Do not overcook. [Remember that in the end they will be served in a hot broth that will continue to simmer them.] Drain and divide equally among bowls. [If serving with white or brown rice noodles, cook according to package directions and divide equally among bowls.] Prepare vegetables of choice. If using raw broccoli and carrot slices, blanch for 1 minute in boiling water and rinse with cool water. If using canned whole straw mushrooms, rinse well. Rinse and drain bean sprouts. Divide equal amounts among bowls. Divide tofu slices equally among bowls. Allow each diner to season their bowl of pho to taste with lime wedges, Sriracha sauce and hoisin sauce. Enjoy!

[The Well Chick Project Recommendation: If you're avoiding sugar, feel free to experiment with whatever sugar substitute you feel comfortable. Or, omit altogether.]

Text Credits: Wikipedia || WikiCookbook || WikiCookbook|| TheWellChickProject || Image Credits: WikiCommons || Jeanette's Healthy Living

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

Molten chocolate cake or lava cake is a popular dessert that combines the elements of a flourless chocolate cake (sometimes called a chocolate decadence cake) and a soufflé. Some other names used are chocolate fondant, chocolate moelleux and chocolate lava cake.

Molten lava cakes are always baked in ramekin dishes and have four main ingredients: butter, eggs, sugar, and chocolate. The butter and chocolate are melted together, while the eggs are either whisked with the sugar to form a thick paste, producing a denser finished product; or are separated so the egg whites can be whipped into an egg foam to provide more lift (and thus a lighter cake) when the mixture is baked.

Rather than presenting only the cake itself in a ramekin or on a plate, the baker may choose to make the cake more appealing. Fresh raspberries, a drizzling of raspberry and/or chocolate sauce, and dustings of powdered sugar may be added to enhance flavor, or a sprig of mint may look more appealing as well. For a more intense chocolate taste, the baker may also add a tablespoon of strong coffee.

The United States-based chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten claims to have invented molten chocolate cake in New York City in 1987, but the French chef and chocolatier Jacques Torres has disputed that claim, arguing that such a dish already existed in France. According to Vongerichten, he pulled a chocolate sponge cake from the oven before it was done and found that the center was still runny, but was warm and had both a good taste and a good texture. Regardless of who invented the dish, Vongerichten has been credited with popularizing it in the United States, and it is now almost a de rigueur inclusion on high-end restaurant dessert menus.

From WikiHow Recipes
Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

3/4 Cup [6oz]
dark cooking chocolate
3/4 Cup [6oz] softened butter
[sweetened, salted
or unsalted as per preference]

3 Eggs
1/3 Cup [5oz]
All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp Baking Powder

pinch of salt
ramekins in which to bake the mixture
1/2 Cup [4oz] Caster Sugar*

*Caster or castor sugar is often sold as superfine sugar in the United States. It is a pure white sugar ground down to finer particles than seen in regular table or granulated sugar. It differs from confectioners’ or powdered sugar, which typically contains corn starch as well as sugar. Caster sugar got its name because its grains are small enough to slip through the holes of a caster or shaker. Caster sugar commonly appears in recipes for mixed drinks and meringues.

Pre-heat oven to 350F degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and mix together well. Beat eggs and sugar together well until nearly white in appearance. For a fluffier cake separate the eggs and blend egg whites separately. Use a bain marie to melt the chocolate. Add the butter to the melted chocolate. Combine chocolate, eggs, and flour mixture [a rubber spatula is recommended but not essential]. Fill ramekins 2/3 full and bake mixture at 320F degrees for 10mins.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || eHow || WikiHow || Image Credit: WikimediaCommons

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cioppino aka San Francisco Seafood Stew

Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco, California. It is considered an Italian-American dish, and is related to various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine. Cioppino is traditionally made from the catch of the day, which in San Francisco is typically a combination of Dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, and fish all sourced from the Pacific Ocean. The seafood is then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread, either local sourdough or French bread.

Cioppino was developed in the late 1800s primarily by Italian fishermen who settled in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, many from the port city of Genoa. Originally it was made on the boats while out at sea and later became a staple as Italian restaurants proliferated in San Francisco.

The name comes from ciuppin, a word in the Ligurian dialect spoken in Genoa meaning "to chop" or "chopped," which describes the process of making the stew by chopping up various leftovers of the day's catch. Ciuppin is also the name of a classic soup from the region, similar in flavor to cioppino but with less tomato and using Mediterranean seafood cooked to the point that it falls apart.

The dish also shares its origin with other regional Italian variations of seafood stew ("zuppe di pesce (it)") similar to ciuppin, including cacciucco from Tuscany, brodetto (it) from Abruzzo, Quatàra di Porto Cesareo (it), and others. Similar dishes can be found in coastal regions throughout the Mediterranean, from Portugal to Greece. Examples of these include suquet de peix (ca) from Catalan-speaking regions of coastal Spain and bouillabaisse from Provence.

Cioppino aka San Francisco Seafood Stew
Cioppino aka San Francisco Seafood Stew Recipe From Wikibooks Cookbook

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
6 ounces onion, chopped
8 ounces of celery, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
6 ounces tomato paste

2 pounds diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
5 cups of water
1 bay leaf
2 pounds crabs, any type, cut into pieces
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1 pound scallops
1 1/2 pounds tilapia cut into two-inch chunks (or substitute any fish with a white, firm flesh)
2 loaves of San Francisco sourdough bread or any other bread with a chewy crust

This recipe calls for live mussels. Here are some safety guidelines for buying, eating and cooking live bivalves (mussels and clams): Never buy a mussel/clam that's open or cracked. Never eat a mussel/clam that won't open after cooking. Cook mussels/clams within 24 hours of purchasing. Always brush mussels/clams clean before cooking. Remove beards from mussels as well.

Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the fennel, onion, shallots, and salt and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and three quarters of a teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and sauté for two minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add tomatoes with their juices, wine, water, crabs, celery and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Add the mussels to the cooking liquid. Cover and cook until the mussels begin to open. This should take about five minutes. Add the scallops and fish. Simmer gently until the fish and scallops are just cooked through and all the mussels are completely open, gently stirring occasionally. This should take about another 10 minutes. Check the soup for closed mussels and throw them out. Remove the bay leaf. Season the soup, to taste, with more salt and red pepper flakes.
It's customary to serve cioppino with San Francisco sourdough bread. However, any bread with a thick, chewy crust will do.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || Wikibooks Cookbook || Image Credit: Flickr/CreativeCommons